Men in Black get their revenge over Twickenham
Powergen London Division Three North West Twickenham 6 Harpenden 16 The Men in Black travelled to Twickenham on Saturday seeking to win back the two points they gave away at the same ground last season. With the chill having eased and the rain stopped, an
Powergen London Division Three North West
Twickenham 6 Harpenden 16
The Men in Black travelled to Twickenham on Saturday seeking to win back the two points they gave away at the same ground last season.
With the chill having eased and the rain stopped, any nerves posed by the unfavourable conditions had all but gone from the young Harpenden outfit come kick off. This didn't prevent a moment of indiscretion in the opening few moments which gave Twickenham the chance to take an early lead with a penalty.
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This refocused Harpenden minds as they began to slowly control the game by using the slope and the wind to their advantage. Deep probing kicks kept Twickenham on the back foot and some strong carries through midfield by Jon Barton and Tom Hoare ensured the forward momentum was maintained.
The first points for the visiting side came after some excellent disruption work by Green and Cornthwaite caused some good turnover ball for Healey to distribute to his backline. Joe Tennant added further yards driving through the Twickenham centres where some aggressive clearing by MacDonald and Harmer allowed Healey to again fire a pass to his backs. The speed of play allowed Speirs the time and space to throw an audacious dummy and power around his opposite man for the first try of the game.
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It didn't take long for Harps to make their way back into the opposition 22 where they were rewarded with a straightforward penalty which Jon Barton duly dispatched. This was followed by some patient play by Harpenden as they crept their way closer to the try line. Phase after phase was put together as the forwards took their time to try and break down a resilient Twickenham defence before Dan Tennant spotted an opening and dived like over the line.
The substitution of Hoare (broken nose) for Wilkinson did little to disrupt the game as a penalty apiece was traded towards the end of the first half. At this stage Twickenham had begun to get back into things with some strong running and intelligent offloading, particularly by their number eight. Half time came with the score 6-16 and Harpenden facing the challenging second half task of playing up the slope, into the increasing wind and with Charlie Cross now on the field for Harmer (jaw injury).
A scoreless second half suggests a dull encounter where chances are few and far between but this could not be further from the truth as both teams went all out for the win. As Harpenden time and time again attempted to play their own brand of rugby both wingers Kearns and Pattison became increasingly frustrated by the heavy ground and slowness of ball they received. Peck and Read did their best to make yards up the middle of the field but as the weather rapidly deteriorated it was defence which became the outstanding feature of the day. A well-marshalled Harpenden resistance ensured that whilst it wasn't a day for running in many tries, the victory was ultimately a comfortable one.
To the relief of the watching few the final whistle finally came with Harpenden taking home the honours against a tough Twickenham side, to maintain their position at the top of the league.
Harpenden: Peck, Tennant D, MacDonald, Harmer, Green, Cornthwaite, Read, Hoare, Healey, Pattison, Tennant J, Barton J, Speirs, Kearns, Barton A. Subs: Cross, Wilkinson, Childs.